Dyspraxia

Young child playing in children's ball pit.Problems with movement and coordination, language and speech.

A disorder that is characterized by difficulty in muscle control, which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech, and can affect learning. Although not a learning disability, Dyspraxia often exists along with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or ADHD.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Exhibits poor balance; may appear clumsy; may frequently stumble
  • Shows difficulty with motor planning
  • Demonstrates inability to coordinate both sides of the body
  • Has poor hand-eye coordination
  • Exhibits weakness in the ability to organize self and belongings
  • Shows possible sensitivity to touch
  • May be distressed by loud noises or constant noises like the ticking of a clock or someone tapping a pencil
  • May break things or choose toys that do not require skilled manipulation
  • Has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as coloring between the lines, putting puzzles together; cutting accurately or pasting neatly
  • Irritated by scratchy, rough, tight or heavy clothing

Strategies

  • Pre-set students for touch with verbal prompts, “I’m going to touch your right hand.”
  • Avoid touching from behind or getting too close and make sure peers are aware of this
  • Provide a quiet place, without auditory or visual distractions, for testing, silent reading or work that requires great concentration
  • Warn the student when bells will ring or if a fire drill is scheduled
  • Whisper when working one to one with the child
  • Allow parents to provide earplugs or sterile waxes for noisy events such as assemblies
  • Make sure the parent knows about what is observed about the student in the classroom
  • Refer student for occupational therapy or sensory integration training
  • Be cognizant of light and light sources that may be irritating to child
  • Use manipulatives, but make sure they are in students field of vision and don’t force student to touch them

Excerpted from the LDA of California and UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute “Q.U.I.L.T.S.” Calendar 2001-2002